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Amish/Mennonite Cuisine


SheenaGreena
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I spent half of my life living in Maryland and have many relatives (father's side only) who live very close to Mennonite and Amish communities. This meant that I was able to grow up on lots of interesting dishes and I had easy access to their farms/markets.

A few things I ate as a kid (and still do) are:

pickled beets and eggs

hag maw (sp?) - pigs stomach stuffed with potatos, cabbage, offal, and spices

ponhaus & puddin

dried corn pudding

sauerkraut with pork

These are found throughout PA and MD. There are lots of other amish/mennonite communities elsewhere in the U.S. Are there any other dishes that you are familiar with? Have you ever tried any?

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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Are there any other dishes that you are familiar with?  Have you ever tried any?

Recipes of all types on this topic ... Amish and Mennonite communities have a number of very cool-looking recipes here... lived not far from Downingtown, Pa. and ate there in some of the few restaurants ... Amish Funnel Cake is wonderful! Amish Shoo Fly Pies and Amish Snickerdoodles are well known.

more discussion here on Amish foods, etc.

Edited by Gifted Gourmet (log)

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I have a great little cookbook I bought almost 40 years ago. "Food That Really Schmecks" by Edna Staebler.

This book is going to be released in paperback on October 1, 2006. It is available via pre-order on Amazon.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I live in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, the heart of the Amish land. About Amish food I have comments. If any care to send me aPM I will be happy to say some things that I won't here I have eaten a lot of Pa Dutch cooking and liked much of it.

PA Dutch style cooking is good hearty fair.

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Hey, I'm a Menno, born and raised! And my grandad grew up Amish. A lot of this is really familiar to me...

Also, don't forget about the German-Russian Mennonites, most of whom settled farther west (Kansas, South Dakota, etc.). They've got some good eats, too! Zweiback, bierrocks, varenike, lotsa different borschts, plumamoos, lotsa different kuchen. They're an interesting bunch - some of it is similar to the dishes you find in the eastern communities, some of the dishes have German or Russian names but are made differently than they are in Germany or Russia.

For more on Russian Mennonite recipes, you can check out this book:

http://www.mennolink.org/books/search.cgi?bk.njv.01

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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Also, don't forget about the German-Russian Mennonites, most of whom settled farther west (Kansas, South Dakota, etc.). They've got some good eats, too! Zweiback, bierrocks, varenike, lotsa different borschts, plumamoos, lotsa different kuchen. They're an interesting bunch - some of it is similar to the dishes you find in the eastern communities, some of the dishes have German or Russian names but are made differently than they are in Germany or Russia.

That's the first thing I thought of - most of the Mennonite I'm familiar with is German based. We have a large Mennonite population in Manitoba and I believe most are of German decent. Lots of the dishes are similar to the Jewish foods I grew up with.

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Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine: click

Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is the typical and traditional fare of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and it has had a considerable influence on the areas in which they originally settled, Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as the neighboring areas that they have migrated to over time. Though its base strongly reflects their German heritage, it has developed into a distinctly different cuisine over the centuries that they have lived in America; it also manifests their simple, largely agricultural lifestyles, the resources made available to them in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, as well as the various regional and religious backgrounds from which they stem. As they hated to waste anything, Pennsylvania Dutch cooks often made use of food parts otherwise discarded, including pig organs and scraps and watermelon rind. Even today, Amish diets are considerably low in processed foods.

A common aspect of Pennsylvania Dutch meals, especially maintained by Amish families today, is a centuries-old emphasis on the seven sweets and seven sours, stemming from archaic European custom and the belief that everything should be properly balanced. Before the typically large families, and especially in the presence of company, seven various pickled foods, relishes, and spreads were laid out on the table alongside the starchy, hearty, filling dishes as part of the evening meal. These delicacies were enjoyed as accompaniments or by themselves. In the absence of refrigeration, they could be prepared in the summer and preserved in jars through the winter months.

Some listed dishes:

Amish Friendship Bread

Scrapple

Pickled beet eggs

Schnitz un knepp

Chicken pot pie

Bova Shankel (translated as "boy's legs")

Brown butter noodles

Rivvel soup

Apple butter

Hogmaw ("Seimaaga" in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect)

Chow-chow

Cole slaw

Pretzel

Beef or venison jerkey

Desserts:

Shoofly pie

Whoopie pies

Funnel cake

Fastnachts

Apple dumplings

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Interesting background on the nationalities of Mennonite immigrants to the US. It looks like their food could have early influences from The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Russia while that of the Amish has roots primarily from Switzerland and Germany.

click

Prior to migration to America, Anabaptists in Europe were divided between those of Dutch and Swiss background. However, both Dutch and Swiss groups took their name from Menno Simons who led the Dutch group. A trickle of Dutch Mennonites began the migration to America in 1683, followed by a much larger migration of Swiss-related Mennonites beginning in 1707. Two centuries later in the 1870's, significant numbers of Dutch Mennonites who had settled in Prussia and then Russia moved to the United States and Canada where they are now known as Russian Mennonites.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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One good source of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes is a 1935 book entitled The Pennsylvania Dutch And Their Cookery by J. George Frederick. It was reissued in 1966, but is long out of print. In addition to many authentic recipes, the book includes a lot of fascinating information about Pennsylvania Dutch culture.

There are usually a couple of copies available on www.eBay.com for under $10.

Douglas Collins

Hermosa Beach, California

Un dîner sans vin est comme un jour sans soleil.

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I have a great little cookbook I bought almost 40 years ago.  "Food That Really Schmecks" by Edna Staebler.

This book is going to be released in paperback on October 1, 2006.  It is available via pre-order on Amazon.

I am so glad to know that this book will be available again. I have borrowed several of Staeblers's from my library.

Edna Staebler died in Waterloo Ontario on Sept. 12, 2006. She was 100 years old.

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I have a great little cookbook I bought almost 40 years ago.  "Food That Really Schmecks" by Edna Staebler.

This book is going to be released in paperback on October 1, 2006.  It is available via pre-order on Amazon.

Hi--jayt90 told me of your post.

It is a lovely book--the introduction gives you a good idea as to what Edna was like.

Just one teeny correction...the Laurier site lists the book as being due out in November.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

j.

blog: Confessions of a Cardamom Addict

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread brought back many memories of dishes I hadn't had in a long time. I grew up in Chester County. We went almost every monday to New Holland near Lancaster, PA to buy and sell horses and friday mornings meant a trip to the central market. We never left the market without corned beef, potato chips, fresh potato rolls and sandtarts for the ride home. As of 10pm last night, I have a large jar of eggs and beets pickling in the frig. I just don't know if I can wait for them to get really good before diggin in. My co-workers are horrified at the idea of pink/purple eggs, we will see how many they eat after tasting their first one.

Edited by Kayakado (log)
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FRESH POTATO ROLLS???? :shock: I never knew there was such a thing! I will be at the Kitchen Kettle and Lititz Cafe this Saturday. I must load up on these potato rolls. Any suggestions where to buy them? The pickled eggs too please!

"Don't be afraid of flavor" -- Tyler Florence

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After being gone from the area for almost 20 years, I am sure I couldn't direct you to any fresh baked goods purveyors. Look for farm stands along the way of what about the Green Dragon in Ephrata, is it open on Saturday? Isn't Lititiz the home of Wilbur Chocolates, inventors of the chocolate kiss aka Wilbur Buds? They had a really good chocolate bar that rivalled good European chocolate but they may have only made it for their centennial celebration when ever that was.

Make your own pickled eggs. Hard boil and peel some eggs, a can of so of sliced beets or roast some fresh, a cup or two of apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and pickling spices and, a little sugar and water - what ever mixture tastes good to you. Leave them in the frig for a day or two if you can wait that long and then start eating them. I brought a few to work with me this morning and my co-workers were appalled, only one was brave enough to try one and we decided it may be one of those foods you need to be introduced to at an early age.

Edited by Kayakado (log)
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Thanks, Kayakado! This will be my first time in Amish Country and I'm hoping to find a few things that were the same as they were 20 years ago :wink: We've always bought the Schmidt's and/or Martin's potato rolls in the grocery store. They're sold on the shelf next to the Wonder Bread, so trying a fresh potato roll for the first time will hopefully be a revelation.

I did try making my own pickeled eggs a couple years ago. What a waste of good eggs that turned out to be. I didn't grow up w/them either. A nearby restaurant in Gaithersburg, Maryland serves them and I had my first at about age 20. How could someone not like them?!

"Don't be afraid of flavor" -- Tyler Florence

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Hello! Friendly PA Dutch Country tourism rep here...

Green Dragon is, unfortunately, not open on Saturdays (just Fridays). However, Central Market in downtown Lancaster, is open on Saturdays (6am - 2pm), as is Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market (since the poster said he/she was headed to Kitchen Kettle, BIH is right down the street). Kitchen Kettle does, in fact, have its famous pickled beets (don't think they have pickled eggs, but you can definitely find them at either of the farmers markets). There's also a great art walk this weekend around Central Market.

And yes, Wilbur Chocolate is in Lititz - Lititz is actually celebrating its 250th birthday this year, and definitely worth a visit to both Wilbur (try the Wilbur bud - arguably one of the most addictive chocolates on earth - seriously - can't keep them anywhere NEAR my desk) and the Sturgis Pretzel House - which still uses the old stone ovens from more than 150 years ago!!!

PA Dutch Country is actually celebrating culinary tourism all year with its "FlavorFest" campaign - look for the "Foodie Guides" at the Visitors Center or at your hotel or B&B.

And have fun!!!

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I will pass on the beets, thanks, but do you suggest we make reservations at the Lititz Cafe? We're just going up & back for the day. All the food I haul home will have to fit in a motorcycle saddle bag. Definitely will do the pickled eggs (purple :smile: ), potato rolls, Wilbur buds & Sturgis pretzels.

"Don't be afraid of flavor" -- Tyler Florence

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I will pass on the beets, thanks, but do you suggest we make reservations at the Lititz Cafe? We're just going up & back for the day. All the food I haul home will have to fit in a motorcycle saddle bag. Definitely will do the pickled eggs (purple :smile: ), potato rolls, Wilbur buds & Sturgis pretzels.

I'd make reservations, personally, since this is a really busy weekend here, but i'm kind of neurotic about that kind of thing :wacko: and always overplan everything when i'm traveling. Can't hurt!

Have fun!

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